December 22, 2008

Back In 2009!!!


What's going on y'all? I know it's been a while since I've written or posted any blogs, so I'd first like to apologize. I've been CRAZY busy working with the team at globalGrind.com, in order to give you the best web experience possible. We've been pulling longer hours and working even harder to make the site better for y'all.

So in 2009, I will be hittin' the web HEAVY with some brand new thoughts and brand new topics for you to ruminate on. (I STILL haven't written on the election of Barack Obama, so you KNOW I have a lot to say on that).

But stay tuned, and don't worry. "Tyson's Take" will be back & in full effect starting January '09 and for now you can appease yourselves by listening to my debut album "The Virtuous Lyricist" which you can order by clicking the link on the right-hand side of this page.

See you in the new year!


- Steve Tyson Jr.

"Music is life, Life is music... JusListen."

November 11, 2008

Order "The Virtuous Lyricist" Available Now!


The debut album from Steve Tyson (aka DJ ear.2.ear), titled "The Virtuous Lyricist", has officially been released on 11.11.08.
You can order a digital copy of the album at: TysonsTake.blogspot.com
-or-
by emailing: JusListenEnt@gmail.com

Price: $9

Tracklist:
1. Very Interesting Reality Through Unique Experiences
2. Rise: That 9 Ether
3. The Movement
4. Mind Elevation (feat. T.R.E.)
5. Makin' Moves (feat. T.R.E.)
6. Where Do We Go?
7. To The Left...
8. Illumination In 4D
9. The Reflection
10. Mind Made Up
Bonus:
Lost Generation
100 Million

You can preview the album at:
www.myspace.com/JusListenEntertainment

Parental Advisory Exquisite and Explicit Lyrics

Executive Producer: Steve Tyson
All Tracks (except #10 and Bonus) produced by: DJ ear.2.ear
Track #10 produced by: Brian "Doc" Robinson

2008, JusListen Entertainment.




Stephen Tyson, Jr.
President
JusListen Entertainment.

October 23, 2008

BET presents: The Cypher

DJ Premier, Ace Hood, Juelz Santana, Fabolous, & Jadakiss
Lay it down for a freestyle cypher, and really keep it classic.
Check it out!

video

October 21, 2008

Yes There's Joe Six-Pack... But What About Jamal Forty?


First off, props to Brother Gerard for the “Jamal Forty” line, but for real… why are both campaigns still ignoring the overwhelming struggles of middle-class Black folk?
Whenever I turn on CNN or MSNBC, I always hear about how the candidates need to appeal to middle-class, blue collar white voters. No one talks about the Black first-year college graduate, the Latino auto mechanic, or the Indian pizza guy. Why does American media always make it look like the biggest burdens only affect White America?

Now I know they’ve had specials like “Black In America” and they’re good & all, but it just makes it seem like those problems deserve coverage every once in a while as opposed to every single day. I think I’ve heard more about what life will be like for minorities in the future through Sen. Barack Obama’s debate points than from the newscasters that are supposed to be reporting these things. The focus of American media is completely on the wrong topics a lot of the time.

Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’m not watching the right channels at the right time. Maybe I’m so ready for the Cultural Revolution that I see problems where there aren’t. Or maybe I’m right, and we should start standing up to various forms of media and demand proper attention and coverage of subjects that effect ALL of America.

Either way, I just hope this election goes in Obama’s favor and with America’s new image we can also change around the imagery that is broadcast around the globe through our media outlets. Whether or not that change is made by program directors, or the anchors themselves, it will be a much needed breath of fresh air for the average viewer.
What do y’all think?


- Steve Tyson Jr.

October 01, 2008

The Audacity of Dope


Doesn’t it seem nowadays that you can’t be a successful Hip-Hop artist unless you’re rapping about being deep in the drug game? Now, for those musicians who have been in the drug game and clawed their way out… this blog is not about you. (Just diversify your topics every now and again.) This blog is about those aspiring MC’s that think they’ll only get a reputation in the game if they can say they made more money trappin’ then rapping.

Since the dawn of Hip-Hop, there have been lyricists who wrote about the harsh realities of their lives and the lives of the people they grew up with. Sometimes those rhymes would include graphic, detailed imagery about life in the ‘hood and circumstances they found themselves in. Other times it would reflect the positive side of our communities and give an inspiration to the millions of other people in those neighborhoods that have no other beacon of hope. Then there are those times when young, talented MC’s pick up a pen to write what they live, and instead concoct a fantasy world that resembles a sh*tty imitation of “Scarface”.

Maybe it’s the appeal of sex & violence that captures the imagination of so many young people in Hip-Hop, but there has to be a balance. For example, if you go to the movie theater there are 12 screens that usually show 12 different kinds of movies. Now imagine instead, they played 1 original movie and 11 cheap imitations…

Now, I’m not trying to imply that every new rapper is all about gun play & drug references cuz that’s clearly not the case. All I’m saying is between the artists, their A&R’s, the labels, and radio stations; there could be some sort of collective consciousness that breaks through the typical mindset of what “Hip-Hop” is about and we can reconnect to expressing peace, love, unity, and having fun. But again… that’s just Tyson’s Take. What do you think?


- Steve Tyson Jr.

September 26, 2008

T.I. - Paper Trail: Album Review


On Tuesday Sept. 30, T.I. will release his sixth studio album “Paper Trail”. Now before I get into critiquing the brotha’s album, I want to make it clear that I listened to a bootleg version for this review but will be purchasing the actual CD to support a fellow artist. Plus, the album is good enough to get bought anyway.

1. 56 Barz – The intro to the album, this song is clearly a lyrical warm-up jog for the versatile MC. The anti-climactic beat puts listeners in position to expect more from the next 17 cuts, and he makes sure we know what other rappers are in his league. (3/5)

2. I’m Illy – No, not “A Millie”. DJ Toomp gives you something to make trunks thump from ATL to NYC, while T.I. lets us know how fresh he is in every aspect of his career. He even challenges us to re-evaluate his position as a Hip-hop heavyweight by declaring he’s “the hottest n*gga rappin’ since Tupac”. (4/5)

3. Ready For Whatever – Since he has a 1 year bid to serve for purchasing machine guns as an ex-felon, it’s of no surprise that he’d dedicate a track to getting his thoughts off his mind about the situation. He explains his situation with a sense of understanding and humility, which is refreshing to see out of a rapper these days. (5/5)

4. On Top Of The World (feat. Ludacris & B.o.B.) – Hotlanta definitely gets some good representation in this song. DJ Toomp is a maestro on the beats once again, recent Grand Hustle signee B.o.B. handles the hook like a seasoned pro, and Ludacris takes some shots back at Samuel L. Jackson for saying rappers couldn’t act. There’s so much goin on T.I. almost gets overshadowed on this song… almost. (4/5)

5. Live Your Life (feat. Rihanna) – When I first heard this song at the MTV Awards, I thought it was a good commercial move by sampling the “Numa Numa Song” and getting Rihanna to switch up the lyrics, but now it’s getting just as annoying as the original. Fun while it lasted tho. (3.5/5)

6. Whatever You Like – T.I. always has one or two songs for the folks who are tryna get their grown & sexy on. Jim Jonsin keeps listeners mesmerized by the synthesizer soundscape and T.I.’s hook tugs on ladies’ heartstrings, while giving the fellas something to whisper in her ear. (4.5/5)

7. No Matter What – On this song, he really shows the world Cliff Harris. Coming at the haters & naysayers, putting Shawty Lo in his place, and letting us know the strength of his faith. If anything happens to him in prison, this album will really be his paper trail. Props to Danja on the beat. (5/5)

8. My Life, Your Entertainment – ATL reppin’ once again, this time bringing in R&B sensation Usher. For a minute I thought getting Usher on a track might be a played out move, but the minute I listened I regretted thinking that. Drumma Boy is really establishing himself as a producer-to-be-reckoned-with and T.I. & Usher get the chance to come back at all the gossip outlets and rumor mill stories about them. (4/5)

9. Porn Star – Another song for those folks getting their grown & sexy on… or just getting their sex on for that matter. “Porn Star” delves deep into the sexual escapades that T.I. wants to take a lucky lady on. Decent production, generic topic, but good wordplay. (3/5)

10. Swing Ya Rag (feat. Swizz Beatz) – I swear, Swizz Beatz is one of the best producers in the game at making you want to stand on your desk at the office and tear your shirt off on some ol’ wild out sh*t. It kinda reminds me of that Petey Pablo song, but definitely revamped for 2K8. (3.5/5)

11. What Up, What’s Haapnin’ – This song is the “Ether” to Shawty Lo’s flimsy career. Classic. (5/5)

12. Every Chance I Get – Back to ballin’. T.I. takes up the generic “I’m gonna ball” theme for this track. He still manages to do it better than a lot of other rappers, but at this point I want to hear some other topics. Decent effort. (3/5)

13. Swagger Like Us (feat. Kanye West, Jay-Z, & Lil’ Wayne) – Probably the song of the season. The four biggest heavyweights in Hip-hop collab for this effort. Kanye is a genius for finding that M.I.A. sample for the hook, and every single MC murders their verse. I swear they all co-ghostwrote Diddy’s version of this track too. (5/5)

14. Slide Show (feat. John Legend) – T.I. gets reminiscent again, this time running through memories of his past and how he visualizes them as pictures in a slideshow. His impending prison sentence is really bringing a side out of him that I don’t think has been revealed much on any of his other albums. Kanye helmed the boards for this song too. (4/5)

15. You Ain’t Missin’ Nothin’ – This song is soaked full of emotion, letting his fallen comrades know that even though they are gone they’re in a better place. He’s really been through a lot, and once again isn’t afraid to show it. DJ Toomp gets more soulful with the beat and it matches the verses perfectly. (5/5)

16. Dead and Gone (feat. Justin Timberlake) – It seems JT is really learning from Timbaland, cuz at first I thought it was Timbo on the beat and sure enough it was Justin. If that wasn’t impressive enough, T.I. brings back his classic flow and rounds out the album with a very solid single. (5/5)

Overall Rating: (4/5)
If T.I. can keep his head on his shoulders while in prison, and comes out a more focused and determined agent of positivity, I think his next album will be even more impressive and personal than this one. At first listen, the album didn’t live up to his best in my opinion (“King”), but the more I hear its songs over & over the more I have grown to appreciate it. It’s definitely worth picking up when it drops next Tuesday, so enjoy.

September 17, 2008

T-Pain, Kanye, Lil’ Wayne & The Vocoder


Everyone’s either hating or loving the fact that T-Pain and the folks at AutoTune have brought back that classic vocoder sound. At first I thought it was just to compensate for lack of singing skills. I felt it was annoying and took away from the musicians that have real talent yet don’t get exposure. Especially when the man using it was only talking about being “In Love With A Stripper”. Soon enough I heard it spreading around to other R&B artists like Chris Brown, and knew it wasn’t going to end from there.

Now we have Lil’ Wayne and Kanye West using AutoTune unapologetically in every one of their latest releases. Even when they perform live, somehow the technicians are able to put the AutoTune effect through their microphones. When Lil’ Wayne performed on SNL the other weekend I thought he did a great job but, personally, would have rather heard him do it without any vocal manipulation. Kanye’s newest song “Love Lockdown” also features him utilizing the AutoTune effects in order to express his deepest pains about love.

Now, even though I’m 23 I have a vivid memory of first hearing the vocoder used by Stevie Wonder on his “Music Of My Mind” album. I thought it was such a cool idea as a child and never saw it resurface until years later when the “California Love” video came out with Roger Troutman using the Talk Box to achieve the same sound. The more I hear it used by rappers and R&B singers the more I’m starting to think that if they’re going to use it, then they better be good. Sometimes Kanye is too over the top with it, same with Wayne, but other times it doesn’t sound that bad. I think that for now, it should remain with T-Pain and maybe Chris Brown and everyone else should probably just let it go. But who am I to say what any other artist should do with their music?


- Steve Tyson Jr.

September 08, 2008

Hip-Hop's 100 Albums Worth Honorable Mention


Last week I compiled my Top 25 Hip-Hop Albums and I appreciate everyone who commented (or will comment) with their opinions. What y’all had to say really got me thinking about all of the music I’ve appreciated in the last 23 years, so I’ve decided to compile a list of 100 Hip-Hop albums that I think deserve “Honorable Mention” status. I threw in some new and old classics that paved (and are paving) the way for future Hip-Hop generations. As always, let me know what you think.


Hip-Hop’s 100 Albums Worth Honorable Mention:

N.W.A. – Straight Outta Compton
Kanye West – The College Dropout
Busta Rhymes – E.L.E. (Extinction Level Event)
Snoop Doggy Dogg – Doggystyle
2Pac – Me Against The World
Eric B. & Rakim – Paid In Full
Raekwon – Only Built 4 Cuban Linx
Run-DMC – King Of Rock
Method Man – Tical 2000: Judgement Day
Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliot – Supa Dupa Fly
DMX – Flesh Of My Flesh, Blood Of My Blood
Jadakiss – Kiss Tha Game Goodbye
Styles P. – A Gangsta & A Gentleman
Ludacris – Back 4 Tha First Time
Ludacris – Word Of Mouf
Jay-Z – The Black Album
Q-Tip – Amplified
Big Punisher – Yeeeah Baby
Beatie Boys – Licensed To Ill
Jay-Z – Vol. 2… Hard Knock Life
Lil’ Wayne – Tha Carter III
Hot Boyz – Guerilla Warfare
2Pac – Makaveli: The 7 Day Theory
Blackstar – Blackstar
Talib Kweli – Quality
Talb Kweli & Hi-Tek – Train Of Thought
Ice Cube – Amerikkka’s Most Wanted
Puff Daddy & The Family – No Way Out
Wu-Tang Clan – Wu-Tang Forever
Dead Prez – Let’s Get Free
Eminem – The Slim Shady LP
Eminem – The Eminem Show
Lauryn Hill – The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill
The Fugees – The Score
50 Cent – Get Rich Or Die Tryin’
Outkast – Speakerboxxx/The Love Below
The Roots – Things Fall Apart
The Roots – Illadelph Halflife
A Tribe Called Quest – Midnight Marauders
Afrika Bambaataa – Planet Rock
The Roots – Game Theory
N.E.R.D. – In Search Of…
Common – Be
Wyclef Jean – The Carnival
Common – Finding Forever
J Dilla – Donuts
Mobb Deep – The Infamous…
A Tribe Called Quest - Low End Theory
Slick Rick – The Great Adventures of Slick Rick
EPMD – Strictly Business
LL Cool J – Bad
Digable Planets - Reachin' (A New Refutation of Time and Space)
Bone Thugs-N-Harmony – E.1999 Eternal
Big L – Lifestyles Of Da Poor & Dangerous
MC Hammer – Please Hammer Don’t Hurt ‘Em
Juvenile – 400 Degreez
2Pac – 2Pacalypse Now
Nas – It Was Written
Scarface – The Fix
Geto Boyz – We Can’t Be Stopped
Jurassic 5 – Quality Control
Fat Joe – Jealous One’s Envy
Cam’Ron – Come Home With Me
Arrested Development – 3 Years, 5 Months & 2 Days in the Life Of...
Lupe Fiasco – Lupe Fiasco’s Food & Liquor
Lupe Fiasco – The Cool
Busta Rhymes – The Coming
Kool G Rap – 4, 5, 6
Atmosphere – Godlovesugly
Kurtis Blow – Kurtis Blow
Ice-T – Power
The Game – L.A.X.
Jurassic 5 – Power In Numbers
Kool Moe Dee – How Ya Like Me Now?
Outkast – Stankonia
Pharoah Monche – Internal Affairs
UGK – Ridin’ Dirty
AZ – Pieces Of A Man
Beanie Sigel – The Truth
Da Brat – Funkdafied
Beanie Sigel – The B.Coming
Memphis Bleek – The Understanding
Goodie Mob – Still Standing
Heiroglyphics – 3rd Eye Vision
Kanye West – Late Registration
The Coup – Steal This Album
The Coup – Pick A Bigger Weapon
T.I. – King
Twista – Adrenaline Rush
Trick Daddy – www.thug.com
Lil’ Wayne – Tha Carter II
Foxy Brown – Ill Na Na
MC Lyte – Lyte As A Rock
Salt ‘N’ Pepa – Very Necessary
Murs – Murray’s Revenge
Nas – It Was Written
Jay-Z – American Gangster
Guru – Jazzmatazz
Jedi Mind Tricks – Servants In Heaven, Kings In Hell
Kid ‘N Play – 2 Hype


Took a few hours to really narrow it down, and I know the first thing everyone might be thinking is “How did someone like The Game’s album get there when it’s not even been out for a week?”. It’s because The Game spits some real talk on that album, just like a lot of other MC’s on this list. If you’ve never heard of some of these albums, don’t hesitate to give them a listen. They just might end up as one of your favorites too.

Peace, Love, Unity, & Have Fun y’all.

- Steve Tyson Jr.

September 03, 2008

Tyson's Top 25 Hip-Hop Albums EVER!


Recently, hip-hop website “theboombox.com” compiled a list of their 20 Greatest Hip-Hop albums of all-time. Now, I took a look at the albums they picked and I’d agree with several of their choices but not necessarily the order. So I took some time out of my day and compiled my Top 25 choices for Greatest Hip-Hop album of all time. By all means, let me know what you guys think.



Tyson’s Top 25

25. DMX – It’s Dark And Hell Is Hot
24. Boogie Down Productions – By All Means Necessary
23. The Notorious B.I.G. – Life After Death
22. De La Soul – 3 Feet High & Rising
21. Dr. Dre – 2001
20. Run DMC – Tougher Than Leather
19. Big Daddy Kane – Long Live The Kane
18. Gangstarr – Step In The Arena
17. Outkast – Aquemini
16. Public Enemy – Fear Of A Black Planet
15. Redman – Doc’s Da Name: 2000
14. Nas – Untitled
13. Boogie Down Productions – Ghetto Music: The Blueprint Of Hip-Hop
12. Ghostface Killah – Supreme Clientele
11. Eminem – The Marshall Mathers LP
10. Jay-Z – The Blueprint
9. Boogie Down Productions – Criminal Minded
8. Big Punisher – Capitol Punishment
7. Jay-Z – Reasonable Doubt
6. Dr. Dre – The Chronic
5. Public Enemy – It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back
4. Nas – Illmatic
3. Wu-Tang Clan – Enter The Wu-Tang: 36 Chambers
2. The Notorious B.I.G. – Ready To Die
1. 2Pac – All Eyez On Me


Took a while, and I know I omitted some classic artists like A Tribe Called Quest, Eric B. & Rakim, EPMD, Scarface, Goodie Mob, and more… but hey, it’s just Tyson’s take. What do y’all think?

- Steve Tyson Jr.

August 27, 2008

Bridging The Gap: Old School vs. New School


KRS-One was recently invited to BET’s Rap City to discuss the new generation of Hip-Hop and how to steer the culture’s future in the right direction. Soulja Boy was also invited and they laid the foundation for a dialogue between old-school and new-school rappers. Because of the beef that Soulja Boy was recently in with Ice T, KRS-One explained that generation gaps have been around since the mid-‘80s. When he was coming up they thought that old-school Hip-Hop was in 1977, in 1997 they thought old-school was ’87, and today we think that it’s anything from the mid-‘90s.

I’m proud that BET would even step up to have an interview like this. It reminds me of Fab 5 Freddy’s conversations with artists during the Yo! MTV Raps era, and it’s good to take it back every once in a while so the new generation doesn’t forget where our culture came from. I also appreciated Soulja Boy’s humble approach when talking about Ice T. He could have reignited the entire beef but instead he just told his side and let the topic die.

In some ways I feel that there is going to be a re-emergence of KRS-One. Not like he ever went anywhere, but Hip-Hop is in such a state of disarray you’re beginning to notice a lot more artists reach out to him on a personal level. 50 Cent, Fat Joe, Nelly, Redman, Talib Kweli, and many others have jumped on board with his Stop The Violence movement. Also, The Temple of Hip-Hop and its mission are becoming much more relevant when it comes to connecting the TRUE roots of Hip-Hop to those who are born with only a mainstream knowledge of the culture. Those roots are peace, love, unity, & having fun and they are expressed through the MC, DJ, B-Boy/B-Girl, and Graf artist.

Much respect to KRS-One, Soulja Boy, Q45 of Rap City, and BET for setting off a continuing dialoge, and remember that The Teacha is the one with the blueprint.


- Steve Tyson Jr.

August 20, 2008

Lloyd Banks: Terminated On Sight


It’s been on the charts for almost two months and G-Unit’s “Terminate On Sight” STILL hasn’t sold 200,000 copies. It’s no surprise that we haven’t heard any statements from 50 Cent on the matter, but I know Lloyd Banks is pissed. I think it should be a wake up call for him that he needs to get from behind 50’s (and now Tony Yayo’s) shadow. We all know about 50 Cent’s business ventures, but with Yayo stepping into the acting world that leaves Banks as the only real lyricist left in the group.

He was the only real MC in the group to begin with, but now he’s really going to have to put the pen to paper and firmly establish himself as a Hip-hop heavyweight. He showed promise on his debut album, but went way too formulaic on “Rotten Apple” and lost a lot of credibility. His calm demeanor took the backseat to Young Buck’s brash personality once he was down with G-Unit, and with The Game (aka G-Unit Killer)’s lyrical improvement he might challenge Banks as the best MC G-Unit ever had.

Hopefully on his next album, currently titled “Gang Green”, Lloyd Banks will be able to find that lyrical promise he still possesses. His witty punchlines, metaphors, similies, and interesting stories are what caught the public’s attention 4 years ago. If he can stray away from the redundant topics that mainstream rappers are known for (or at least do it in a real creative way) then he will be the one to bring G-Unit back to a relevant status again. His next challenge would be to wrestle the “King of NY” crown from Jay-Z… that is, if the Jiggaman doesn’t pass the torch to Nas first.

- Steve Tyson Jr.

August 15, 2008

NURC: Re-Generation Tour Auditions!!!


The Neo-Underground Railroad Conductors (NURC) will be hosting the 1st Annual “Re-Generation Tour” heading out across the country. The Re-Generation Tour was devised to use music as a tool to inspire youth to realize the value of true expression, the importance of making conscious decisions, and the power behind their individual voices.

NURC was founded on the same principles of the original Underground Railroad, led by Harriet Tubman. They use a network system to break the shackles of post-modern slavery, which threatens to be more dangerous than the slavery of our ancestors because we are no longer in physical bondage, but are mentally controlled by a mainstream society that puts money before morals and corruption before compassion.

The NURC will gather artists from all genres of music and the arts to perform at venues around the country. This year the focus will be on bringing positive acts to the east coast of the US, and sending satellite acts to states like Texas, California, Illinois, and other major cities.

All artists, speakers, filmmakers, dancers, etc., will be provided coaching from the NURC’s Conductor of Talent Relations and other trained professionals.

Tour Auditions will be held from August 15th – September 21st 2008 in New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.

Submit artist & contact information to: nurc.regeneration@gmail.com
Or contact Amirah Cummings at: 646-457-6988

August 13, 2008

Jockin' Jay-Z


Whose house? Hov’s no doubt Bout the only rapper still getting money in the drought
- Jay-Z

With firmly established business ventures like Roc Nation, 40/40 Clubs worldwide, NJ Nets, Rocawear, and potentially the NY Yankees, Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter has really come a long way. I’m not talking about the rags-to-riches story that everyone knows about. I mean the riches-to-wealth story that he’s still in the process of writing. No one else in the Hip-Hop game has turned their financial successes as a rapper into investment capital as an entrepreneur quite like Jay-Z has. Yes you can say 50, Diddy, & Russell should be mentioned as well, but Diddy & Russell weren’t rappers, and 50 Cent has always been more business minded than artistically gifted.

The fact is Jay-Z is creating a new trail for young Hip-Hop brothers who want to be more than just a record deal or a fashion icon. He’s laying down a true blueprint of success showing individuals how to focus on your vision, brand your ideas, and market yourself to a worldwide audience. He is becoming so well established in the financial fabric of our country that he can now create music simply for the love of art, rather than relying on it to pay the bills.

Because of the path he has chosen, young people can now look at the Hip-Hop industry and realize that being an artist can also be a platform for you to pursue bigger & better dreams. Essentially, if you’re good enough with the right mentality and can establish, brand, & market yourself, if you stay relevant the sky can be the limit. It also doesn’t hurt if you’re name’s Shawn Carter too, haha.

- Steve Tyson Jr.

August 06, 2008

Dream Team I vs. Dream Team III


Now that the Olympic preliminary games are over for Men’s Basketball, the comparisons between the 1992 Dream Team and the 2008 Dream Team are starting rev up. Now I don’t think there will EVER be a team better than one that consisted of Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Patrick Ewing, Isaiah Thomas, Scottie Pippen, John Stockton, Karl Malone, Charles Barkley, Clyde Drexler, David Robinson, Chris Mullin, & Christian Laettner. Besides the last two (Mullin & Laettner), the entire team was comprised of 11 of the original 50 greatest players in NBA history. I mean, I don’t even think there’s another sports team that can even boast that fact.

So now its 16 years later and a young, talented group of NBA stars are donning the red, white, and blue for their country. Granted, in those years there was a lot of turmoil within both the NBA and in USA Basketball. International competition flourished, Hip-hop fashion was banned, 18 year olds were barred from entering the league without playing for a collegiate institution first, and Ron Artest started punching fans in the face.

There was no way David Stern or any of the NBA brass was going to send their elite players to the Olympics to not return with the gold medal, only to have the league’s reputation tarnished again. I mean this summer alone more NBA players have signed contracts with foreign teams than in any other year. The quality of international play is much better than any of the teams that the 1992 Dream Team had to face. So instead of reminiscing on the “good ‘ol days” of USA Basketball when we would devour other countries teams for lunch, we should root for and respect Dream Team III because they have the hardest quest to the gold medal than any other team before them.

- Steve Tyson Jr.

July 30, 2008

Apologies for Slavery & Jim Crow


Recently our United States House of Representatives formally apologized for the violent enslavement and imposing of discriminating (“Jim Crow”) laws on African-Americans in this country. Now, I can understand the emotions of users like “darnelic” who asked: “What does that mean for me today”. It might seem like the apology doesn’t matter in this day & age, but in reality it means a whole lot more for us tomorrow than it does today.

Because our government has now undertaken the official position that something it enforced in the past was immoral and wrong, we can better understand how we got to where we are today, in order to better shape the future. People make claims that slavery ended hundreds of years ago and therefore today’s apologies don’t matter, but really the systematic enslavement and social oppression of Blacks didn’t start to die down until the mid-1960s. Which, at that point, made it over 450 (I say again, over 450!!!) years since the beginnings of the Atlantic Slave Trade. To compare, it was just a mere 40 years ago that Black people were finally recognized with the full freedoms that an American citizenship provides. Ya dig?

Whether it was being granted the right to vote or if it was something as simple as dining at a restaurant counter, the 1960s gave African-Americans our first glimpse of what Dr. King saw when he was “at the mountain top”. The end of Jim Crow marked the rise of the “American Phoenix”. The time in our country where those who had been subject to centuries of unjust discrimination and systematic oppression by our own Government, were able to better comprehend the grief their ancestors had fought through in order to lead this country to a new social destiny.

And to think, tomorrow’s future was all set off with one formal apology. (As well as a Black President.)

Maybe reparations are next… (*fingers crossed*)


- Steve Tyson Jr.

July 24, 2008

Nas vs. Fox News


I just got back from the MoveOn.org and ColorofChange.org protest of the Fox News Corporation and News Corporation. Legendary Hip-hop lyricist Nas hosted the entire protest after being just over an hour late. As usual the NYPD and Hip-hop police squads were in attendance, but the true crowd was formed by members of MoveOn.org, ColorofChange.org, fans of Nas, and your average American citizen who is just fed up with the bullsh*t that Fox feeds us.

Fox poisons this country every time they air racist propaganda and try to call it news.”
- Nas

He kept it 100% real in his speech. Not only did he come at them for their consistently negative portrayal of the Obamas, he also put them on blast for demonizing black leaders, black institutions, and other black people. Nas even used the example of when Fox covered Coretta Scott King’s funeral and used it as an excuse to label other positive Black leaders as “racist”.

In the end, Fox News declined the 620,127 signed petitions showing their cowardice towards it all. Regardless of whether or not they will ever accept those petitions, it is only the beginning of the end for Fox News and other racially biased media outlets like them. More Hip-hop heavyweights like Nas need to step up to the plate and become a powerful voice for the voiceless. Since he was willing to stand alone while standing united with the people, I guess that makes him a hero. They say we’re looking for one…

- Stephen Tyson Jr.

July 22, 2008

Thinking Outside Since 1947


So, I wear a lot of clothing made by LRG Co. and one of their phrases I’ve seen them use time & time again on their clothing was “Thinking Outside Since 1947”. Now I know that they weren’t founded in 1947 and it began to interest me as to why they picked that year and what did “thinking outside” have to do with it. So I looked it up in order to see what went on. Come to find out, it was a very busy year. Here are (what I think are) the Top 10 events of 1947:

10. Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in the MLB.
9. Bell X-1 breaks the sound barrier
8. Harold Dahl reports meeting the “Men In Black” after seeing 6 UFOs.
7. The Truman Doctrine is imposed.
6. The basis of the World Trade Organization is founded.
5. The Dead Sea Scrolls are unearthed.
4. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is formed.
3. A UFO allegedly lands in Roswell, NM on 7/7/47
2. Palestine is partitioned between Arabs & Jews, creating the state of Israel.
1. The CIA is formed.

Hmm… maybe LRG is on to something when it says “Thinking Outside Since 1947”. I mean it was the first time that there was a mass speculation toward the idea that life could exist outside of this planet. It also applies directly to us when new branches of our Federal Government like the WTO and IMF are created, making an increasing number of people around the world dependant upon the value of an inflated American dollar. We also confronted our country’s rough racial history when an African-American was allowed to professionally participate in our “National Pastime”.

All in all, I’d personally like to thank the people at LRG for waking me up to see what’s gone on in our past in order to better steer the future. The Jackie Robinson thing most people know, but there was a lot of other stuff going on that still affects us in a major way today. That’s all I’ve got for this week but stay tuned yo.

- Stephen Tyson Jr.

July 16, 2008

Fear of A Black Planet


Ok, so Barack Obama is the Presidential front-runner in a country that has the worst race relations in modern history, Tiger Woods is on pace to become the first billionaire athlete in the world’s most historically racist sport, yet Nas can’t title his album “Nigger”. Richard Pryor threw that word around in his album titles freer than a slave with papers, but when someone uses it to make a social statement it's shut down. Chuck D said it the best when he said there was a “Fear of a Black Planet”. Not a fear of us coming together for a coup d'├ętat of the government but a fear of us collectively achieving a new social status through more influential professions. That means less brothers and sisters striving to be professional athletes or shakin’ for the cameras and more of us entering fields like the sciences, academia, or politics.

“Too many rappers, athletes, and actors
But not enough niggas in NASA”
– Nas

The expansion of blacks into broader professions would send shivers down the spines of a lot of closed-minded people when they realize that blacks all over the world would be able to help pave the way for a new history in humanity. Come on, there's room for everybody!

We’ve already broken the chains on our feet, now it’s time to break the mental ones. When that happens, the sky would no longer be the limit for our young people’s potential.

Americans get fueled by today's mainstream media when they ruminate over meaningless topics like lapel pins, out-of-context soundbites, lack of patriotism, “terrorist fist jabs”, etc. It’s precisely this issue that the artist who drew the recent cover of The New Yorker was attempting to address. Granted, it might have been tasteless, but the flavor of the picture resonated through all who saw it. Mission accomplished.

More and more young African-Americans in this country and blacks around the world are moving up the social ladder. Whether assisted by the helping hands of those who reach down, or pushed up by the ones behind, we shall soon make it to the top. The days ahead don't seem as dark anymore.

“We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” – Barack Obama


- Stephen Tyson Jr.